Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Fun Day at Fire Museum

The Tri-County Fire Chiefs' Association is sponsoring the second annual Firefighter Family Fun Day to coincide with Fire Prevention Week.  On October 11th, there will be a gathering of departments in a “village” next to the North Charleston Fire Museum.  Harkening back to the days of Charlestowne Landing, each department can set up their tent and fixins’, then kick back for some good old firefighter fellowship.  The day was chosen to allow as many firefighters as possible to attend the memorial service in Emmittsburg the weekend before.

Your best firehouse cook should prepare the department specialty.  This year, each will be judged, at an individual location and each booth will be judged on the department’s chosen decoration theme.  Awards will be given for food based on taste, presentation & originality and the tent/site on theme and overall presentation.  A “Best of Show” based on the combined total score will top out the event.  Please let Scott Luedtke know by October 3rd if your department will be cooking for judging in order for the delivery schedule to be set-up. Each participant will be given a wrist band to identify them for discounted admission to the museum and to partake in the food and games.  This year, local EMS agencies will be invited, since they work so closely with the area fire departments, and next year the local law enforcement agencies will be invited.

Each department should have a game for the kids to play.  Hopefully, a jump castle or inflated slide will be there for the kids as well as discount coupon books for Tanger Outlet Mall.  There will be no vehicle exhibit.  Tangeroo may be visiting the kids on site.

Each department is asked to do the following:  

0700 - 1000  Set-up   Self-contained tent and cooking area   No electricity provided, water at museum   A game for the kids to play    Food is your fire house specialty (to be judged and eaten)   Food for 60 people (or more if you wish)     Non-alcoholic beverages for 60 people   Trash can/bags…take your trash with you please  

1145 - 1230  Food and tent judging 

1000 - 1300  Fun Day

1300 - Shut down and clean up

Come on out for a fun day, some fellowship and good times with your brothers and sisters at the 2nd Annual Firefighter Family Fun Day. Contact for more information:  Scott Luedtke @ 693-6847 

Happy Birthday, Jim Zukauskas!

Happy Birthday to our fellow Team member, Jim. Your efforts on behalf of our Team, our firefighters, and their families is what makes us glad to be a part of this effort!

Welcome, Chief Carr!

Mayor Riley introduced our new Fire Chief Tom Carr today during a morning news conference at City Hall. Chief Carr brings a tremendous amount of expertise and experience to this department and we welcome him, his wife, Ann, and daughter, Amy, to our fire department family.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Belated "Happy Birthday" to Jennifer Happ!

Apologies to Jennifer who celebrated her birthday on September 19th. We hope you had a great day!

"Raising Engine 11" Update

Pictured above are Charleston Firefighter Support Team members Richie Denninger & Jim Zukauskas at work.

Work continues on the Engine 11 project. It is just about ready to be sent to the paint shop. We are removing all of the trim, fenders, running boards and compartments so that we can prep all of the rusted areas before painting. All of the seats and the headliner are in Grady’s Upholstery Shop in North Charleston being recovered. Special thanks to Mike Kornahrens, Louis Mulkey’s uncle, and the owner of Grady’s, who has generously given his time and talent to this part of the project. Dan Schulken, a retired Charleston firefighter, and a true artist and craftsman, has offered to lend his talent and time to reletter and restripe the truck. He has been responsible for much of the lettering and striping of Charleston fire apparatus over the years and, in fact, has done some of the work on Engine 11 in the past. We are happy to have him involved. We are truly proud of this effort and hope that it will serve as a symbol to honor our firefighters, past, present, and future. Thanks to all who have contributed financially, or with their time, to this project to date

"Fireproof", the Movie

This past Friday night, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the local premier of the movie, “Fireproof” with a group of members of the department and their spouses. The movie is set in the City of Albany, Georgia and is centered around the difficulties in the relationship of a Fire Department Captain and his wife. The Captain, portrayed by actor Kirk Cameron, accepted a challenge from his father to follow a forty day plan to improve his marriage. My first impression was that it was a “chick flick” but after watching for a while, I was glad that I attended. My wife and I have since discussed it and it certainly opened my eyes. All of us have experienced some difficulty in our relationships and the past fifteen months have taken a toll on individuals and marriages. If you get a chance, take time to see this movie. I believe it will be worthwhile for you.

Stay safe, my friends,


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Noah Baity!

CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" Meeting

Left to right: Dot Hutchinson, Chief Buddy Aytes, Joe Gregorie, Ricky Koger & David Smith

The first meeting of the CFD Retirees' "Hooked Up" program was held tonight at the North Charleston American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center. There were thirty-five people in attendance who enjoyed a buffet dinner served by A & M Brown's Barbeque in Moncks Corner. We all had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones. We were happy to have Ms. DeLora Guthke in attendance. Chief Wilmot Guthke was Chief of the Department until his retirement in 1994. It was an honor to recognize Ms. Guthke as a former "First Lady" of the department. As I looked around the room, I realized that all of the retirees in attendance had served under Chief Guthke. Another person there tonight that brought back many fond memories for me was Sammy White. Sammy was the "wheel man" in the truck company back in my younger days and I remember visiting Coming Street station and admiring the pride Sammy and all of the others there had in their equipment and job. Many thanks to all who attended tonight with special thanks to my son, Capt. Grant Mishoe and my friend, Chief Joey Roberts, who gave their time and talent to make the Museum available for us. The next meeting of the "Hooked Up" will be held in early December when the wives of our retirees will be invited to join us. The time and place for that meeting will be announced near the end of November. We hope to have many more of our retirees join us then.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ode to a Friend

Losing someone, whether expected or not, is an event that truly shakes you to your very soul.  I recently experienced that awful feeling when a friend and former clinical teammate died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident.  I think of her frequently and still can not completely accept her death, sometimes thinking she is simply on vacation and will soon return to share her compassion and unique view of life.  In the weeks since her death, I have challenged myself to make changes that allow me to better appreciate that which life has to offer. Too often we are consumed with tasks that fill up every minute of our waking time and steal the moments that should be reserved for family, friends, and ourselves.  It has said that time is a gift.  How true! I have always been a strong proponent of time management, often organizing my days around schedules, chores, and errands and taking care of others at times to my own detriment.  Since losing Becky, I have been more aware of simply letting the unnecessary things in life no longer determine how I chose to live. Laundry piling up?  Oh, well……dishes in the sink?  Too bad…..House not tidy?  It can wait……Phone call during dinner?  That is what answering machines are for…….. When I start to worry about the growing mound of ironing, streaks on the bathroom mirrors, and crumbs on the kitchen floor I ask myself, ”Did  it matter if Becky had emptied the dishwasher or cleaned off the porch on the day she died?  Did it matter to her grieving family and friends?”  Remember those who have died by honoring your life and all those who you adore.  Live fully, love hard, laugh often.  Rid yourself of negative people and influences.  Rise above ignorance. Always take responsibility for your actions. Be the best parent.  Lend a hand.  Allow nature to inspire you.  Offer hope.  Take care of yourself.  Honor those who have gone before you by making the commitment to live, not simply exist.

Amanda Custer

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"How Ya Doin'?"

This week we commemorate the loss of 343 New York Firefighters in the World Trade Center Disaster on September 11th, 2001. While we may have not known any of these men personally, we have developed a sense of understanding as to the pain this tragedy created for their families and their fellow firefighters. After the loss of the Charleston 9 last year, many of New York's finest came to our aid in the form of peer counselors and eventual friends to help us deal with our own tragedy. Many of you now know guys like big Ralph Esposito, who rode into town on his Harley and became a good friend to us all. Others followed, John Hemsley, Art Tracy, Dag Dorph, John Bruckner, George Faller, Joe Curry, Dave Gettens, Charlie James, Bob Kilkenny, Gerry Moriarty, Bob Winkler and Joe Hines and last, but not least, our own Richie Denninger, who came here to stay and become one of us. Throughout our contacts with these men, they always ask the same thing, the well-known phrase right out of New York, "How Ya Doin'?" Even though it has been some time since their last visits, they always ask about all of you and remain truly concerned about your well-being. For that, we will be forever grateful and this week we especially have them in our thoughts and wish them well.

Honor the memory of the 343 New York Firefighters and the Charleston 9 by asking yourself, How am I doing? Think it over and let us know if we can help you.

Be safe, my Friends,


Happy Birthday, Ashley Las Marias!

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Raising Engine 11" Update

Pictured above are Team Clinicians Chris Wells, Amanda Custer and Jim Zukauskas working on Engine 11.

Work is progressing on Engine 11.  We have it stripped of most of the parts, handrails, treadplate, handles, etc. that will need to be replated.  We are reconfiguring the hose bed to make a seating area for people to ride during parades and will be putting the seats and headliner in the shop this week to be recovered.  We are doing some sandblasting on the running boards and compartments this coming week in preparation for sending it to the body shop. It is turning out out be quite a project but one that will be very rewarding in the end.  We could still use some donations to help offset the expenses if anyone would like to make a contribution. Thanks to all of you that have contributed your time and money so far.

Our Salisbury Brothers & Sisters

While Richie Denninger and I were in Mooresville at the Brad Baity Scholarship fundraiser last week, we visited the Salisbury, North Carolina Fire Department. This was our third trip there since they lost two firefighters of their own in March of this year in a tragic fire. We were asked to come visit them the first time back in May to share any information we had learned from our experiences here at home. Salisbury has 40 + personnel in four stations on three shifts. During our visits, we have been able to spend time in all four stations on all three shifts as well as meeting with the entire command staff. They are facing the same difficulties all of us have been experiencing here in Charleston. They have been criticized in the media, faced an OSHA investigation and have evaluated their department from A to Z. In spite of their own struggles, they have always expressed their concerns and best wishes for all of you. They are a great group of men and women and we have been honored to work with them and to represent all of you in our visits. We are looking forward to returning to see them soon. If any of you are in the area, it would be worthwhile for you and for them to stop and pay them a visit.

"Fireproof, the Movie"

The events of the past year have brought much strife to all of us. The strain on relationships continues to be difficult for many of you. A new movie, "Fireproof", is being released in theatres on September 26. The story line involves firefighters and the difficulties they face in their marriages brought on by the job. View the trailer for what will be an important look at the lives of firefighters and their families.

Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship

Richie Denninger and I attended a picnic in Mooresville, North Carolina last week with Brad Baity's family. The picnic was to raise funds for the Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship Fund. It was an honor to be there and to spend time with Brad's Mom and Dad, Dot and James, his brother, Jimmy, and his sister, Sharon.

The Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship recognizes a senior high school student from the Mooresville Graded School District for his/her accomplishments as a model citizen of Mooresville and of this country. The scholarship is in memory of Brad, a son of Mooresville, a 1988 graduate of Mooresville High School and a genuine patriot. As a child Brad was a Boy Scout and later a police cadet, a U.S. Marine and firefighter. He was very active in his church and community and was a consummate family man. He lost his life in the Sofa Super Store fire on June 18, 2007, along with eight other brave Charleston firefighters. Brad was 37 years old. In addition to his Mooresville family, Brad left behind his wife, Heather, his daughter, Mariah and his son, Noah, all of whom live in Charleston. Brad touched the lives of many, many people. Those who knew him best admired his unwavering devotion to God, family, country and community. He was the epitome of a true Patriot, someone driven by values and who gave unselfishly to help others and his country. The Brad Baity Patriotism Scholarship is intended for those young adults who exemplify the same qualities.

Many of you were close friends with Brad and he surely exemplified the qualities of the candidates for this scholarship. If you would like to make a contribution to this fund in memory of Brad, you can do so by sending your donations made payable to the "Mooresville Excellence in Education Foundation" (M.E.E.F.) c/o Chris Baker, 958 Muirsfield Drive, Mooresville, N.C. 28115.